- Please send as far and wide as possible.
Editor, The Konformist
Great Quotes: Naomi Wolf
On TSA "enhanced patdowns":
"These body scanners are not about security. I have long noted that closing societies use forced nudity and sexual invasiveness to condition people into a mondset of compliance with authority. I have heard elsewhere that TSA officials are being directed to grope breasts, be invasive when people opt out. Shades of Rove sexual weirdness..."
Humor Break: My First Cavity Search
Thanks to Scott Rose of Scottworld.com...
Full Frontal Nudity Doesn't Make Us Safer: Abolish the TSA
Nov. 14 2010
The Republicans control the House of Representatives and are bracing for a long battle over the President's health care proposal. In the spirit of bipartisanship and sanity, I propose that the first thing on the chopping block should be an ineffective organization that wastes money, violates our rights, and encourages us to make decisions that imperil our safety. I'm talking about the Transportation Security Administration.
Bipartisan support should be immediate. For fiscal conservatives, it's hard to come up with a more wasteful agency than the TSA. For privacy advocates, eliminating an organization that requires you to choose between a nude body scan or genital groping in order to board a plane should be a no-brainer.
But won't that compromise safety? I doubt it. The airlines have enormous sums of money riding on passenger safety, and the notion that a government bureaucracy has better incentives to provide safe travels than airlines with billions of dollars worth of capital and goodwill on the line strains credibility. This might be beside the point: in 2003, William Anderson incisively argued that some of the steps that airlines (and passengers) would have needed to take to prevent the 9/11 disaster probably would have been illegal.
The odds of dying from a terrorist attack are much lower than the odds of dying from doing any of a number of incredibly mundane things we do every day. You are almost certainly more likely to die or be injured driving to the airport than you are to be injured by a terrorist once you're in the air, even without a TSA. Indeed, once you have successfully made it to the airport, the most dangerous part of your trip is over. Until it's time to drive home, that is.
Last week, I picked up a "TSA Customer Comment Card." First, it's important that we get one thing straight: I am not the TSA's "customer." The term "customer" denotes an honorable relationship in which I and a seller voluntarily trade value for value. There's nothing voluntary about my relationship with the TSA.
A much more appropriate term for our relationship is "subject." The TSA stands between me and those with whom I would like to trade, and I am not allowed to without their blessing.
Second, the TSA doesn't provide security. It provides security theater, as Jeffrey Goldberg argues. The kid with the slushie in Tucson before the three-ounce-rule? The little girl in the princess costume at an airport I don't remember? The countless grandmothers? I'm more likely to be killed tripping over my own two feet while I'm distracted by the lunacy of it all than I am to be killed by one of them in a terrorist attack. The moral cost of all this is considerable, as James Otteson and Bradley Birzer argue.
For even more theater of the absurd, consider that the TSA screens pilots. If a pilot wants to bring a plane down, he or she can probably do it with bare hands, and certainly without weapons. It's also not entirely crazy to think that an airline will take measures to keep their pilots from turning their multi-million dollar planes into flying bombs. Through the index funds in my retirement portfolio, I'm pretty sure I own stock in at least one airline, and I'm pretty sure airline managers know that cutting corners on security isn't in my best interests as a shareholder.
And the items being confiscated? Are nailclippers and aftershave the tools of terrorists? What about the plastic cup of water I was told to dispose of because "it could be acid" (I quote the TSA screener) in New Orleans before the three-ounce rule? What about the can of Coke I was relieved of after a flight from Copenhagen to Atlanta a few months ago? I would be more scared of someone giving a can of Coke to a child and contributing to the onset of juvenile diabetes than of using it to hide something that could compromise the safety of an aircraft.
And finally, most screening devices are ineffective because anyone who is serious about getting contraband on an airplane can smuggle it in a body cavity or a surgical implant. The scanners the TSA uses aren't going to stop them.
Over the next few years, we're headed for a bitter, partisan clash over legislative priorities. Before the battle starts, let's reach for that low-hanging, bipartisan fruit. Let's abolish the TSA.
TSA ejects Oceanside man from airport for refusing security check
Robert J. Hawkins
November 14, 2010
John Tyner was tossed out of the airport because he refused to submit to a TSA body scan and intensive "pat down."
SAN DIEGO John Tyner won't be pheasant hunting in South Dakota with his father-in-law any time soon.
Tyner was simultaneously thrown out of San Diego International Airport on Saturday morning for refusing to submit to a security check and threatened with a civil suit and $10,000 fine if he left.
And he got the whole thing on his cell phone. Well, the audio at least.
The 31-year-old Oceanside software programmer was supposed to leave from Lindbergh Field on Saturday morning and until a TSA agent directed him toward one of the recently installed full-body scanners, Tyner seemed to be on his way.
He'd been reading about the scanners and didn't like them for a number of reasons, ranging from health concerns to "a huge invasion of privacy." He'd even checked the TSA website which indicated that San Diego did not have the machines, he said in a phone interview Saturday night.
"I was surprised to see them," said Tyner.
He also did something that may seem odd to some, manipulative to others but fortuitous to plenty of others for whom Tyner is becoming something of a folk hero: Tyner turned on his cell phone's video camera and placed it atop the luggage he sent through the x-ray machine.
He may not be the first traveler tossed from an airport for security reasons but he could well be the first to have the whole experience captured on his cell phone.
During the next half-hour, his cell phone recorded Tyner refusing to submit to a full body scan, opting for the traditional metal scanner and a basic "pat down" -- and then refusing to submit to a "groin check" by a TSA security guard.
He even told the guard, "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested."
That threat triggered a code red of sorts as TSA agents, supervisors and eventually the local police gravitated to the spot where the reluctant traveler stood in his stocking feet, his cell phone sitting in the nearby bin (which he wasn't allowed to touch) picking up the audio.
According to TSA at the time the controversial body scanners were installed, travelers would have the option to request walking through the traditional metal detector but that option would be accompanied by a "pat down."
Why Tyner was targeted for a secondary pat down is unknown.
Asked if he thought he looked like a terrorist, Tyner said no. "I'm 6-foot-1, white with short brown hair," he said Saturday night.
Was he singled out for "punishment"?
Before Tyner was told he was getting a "groin check," a TSA agent is heard on the recording telling another agent "I had a problem with the passenger I was patting down. So I backed down. He was obnoxious."
Tyner is sure he was talking about someone else. On the whole, with a single final exception, he found the agents "professional if standoffish."
He did marvel that while his own situation was being deliberated, many passengers passed through the metal detector and on to their flights with no pat-down. "One guy even set off the alarm and they sent him through again without a pat-down," he said.
Once he threatened to have the TSA agent arrested though, events turned surreal.
A supervisor is heard re-explaining the groin check process to Tyner then adding "If you're not comfortable with that, we can escort you back out and you don't have to fly today."
Tyner responded "OK, I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying."
"This is not considered a sexual assault," replied the supervisor, calmly.
"It would be if you were not the government," said Tyner.
"By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights," countered the TSA supervisor.
"I think the government took them away after 9/11," said Tyner.
"OK," came the reply.
More senior TSA administrators showed up, and one San Diego police officer. Tyner's personal information was taken down and then he was escorted out of the security area. After he put his shoes back.
His father-in-law, a 40-year retired deputy sheriff, can be heard pleading in the back ground for some common sense.
Tyner went over to the American Airlines counter where an agent, to his amazement, refunded the price of his non-refundable ticket.
Before he could leave, however, he was again surrounded by TSA employees who told him he couldn't leave the security area. One, who kept insisting he was trying to help Tyner, told him that if he left he would be subject to a civil suit and a $10,000 fine.
Tyner asked if the agents who had escorted him from the security area would also be sued and fined.
The same man who told Tyner he would be sued and fined if he left, also insisted that he did not tell him he couldn't leave.
So Tyner left.
Two hours later he wrote the whole experience up on his blog and posted the audio files to YouTube.
You could say it has gone viral.
By Saturday evening, 70,000 people had accessed the entry and 488 comments were posted to the blog item. Those comments are divided over Tyner's experience. "Only 5 percent say I'm an idiot," he said.
Far more applaud him for "standing up" to the security forces. Many more people share his disdain for how airport security is conducted.
"People generally are angry about what is going on," said Tyner, "but they don't know how to assert their rights....there is a general feeling that TSA is ineffective, out of control, over-reaching."
If Tyner has touched some undercurrent of resentment, he doesn't want to be the guy who leads the charge to overturn the machines. "I'm not so sure I'm the right person to start a movement," he said.
If he isn't, he can sound at times like he's auditioning for the job.
Tyner points out that every terrorist act on an airplane has been halted by passengers. "It's time to stop treating passengers like criminals and start treating them as assets," he said.
TSA to investigate body scan resister
Oceanside man took a stand against security, went viral
Robert J. Hawkins
Monday, November 15, 2010
Federal Security Director Mike Aguilar, TSA director for San Diego, speaks to the media Monday about John Tyner who refused to go through a body scan, had trouble with a physical pat down, and eventually was denied boarding privileges.
The Transportation Security Administration has opened an investigation targeting John Tyner, the Oceanside man who left Lindbergh Field under duress on Saturday morning after refusing to undertake a full body scan.
Tyner recorded the half-hour long encounter on his cell phone and later posted it to his personal blog, along with an extensive account of the incident. The blog went viral, attracting hundreds of thousands of readers and thousands of comments.
Michael J. Aguilar, chief of the TSA office in San Diego, called a news conference at the airport Monday afternoon to announce the probe. He said the investigation could lead to prosecution and civil penalties of up to $11,000.
TSA agents had told Tyner on Saturday that he could be fined up to $10,000.
"That's the old fine," Aguilar said. "It has been increased."
Tyner's stand tapped into an undercurrent of resentment toward the TSA and how security checks are conducted at the nation's airports. Those commenting about Tyner's experience at SignOnSanDiego.com told their own stories of personal humiliations and invasive body searches.
TSA chief John Pistole was grilled about Tyner's case Monday on CNN.
"The bottom line is, if somebody doesn't go through proper security screening, they're not going to go on the flight," Pistole said.
Other news websites, from gri.pe to Yahoo! News to Drudge Report, have consumed Tyner's tale and recirculated it to millions of readers. On Monday, Tyner spent the entire day fielding interviews from television, radio and news agencies.
Tyner, 31, was on his way to South Dakota on Saturday to go pheasant hunting. He was chosen for a full-body scan and opted out because he thought it was invasive. He was then informed that he would be subjected to a body search. He told the TSA agent, ""You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested."
Tyner likened the proposed search procedure to a "sexual assault."
When he tried to assert his rights, Tyner was told by a TSA supervisor on tape, "By buying your ticket you gave up a lot of rights."
Aguilar says that Tyner was facing nothing more than the traditional pat-down that TSA has used for some time, and not a more aggressive body search in effect since late October.
In the end, security escorted Tyner out of the airport, after American Airlines refunded his ticket.
According to Aguilar, Tyner is under investigation for leaving the security area without permission. That's prohibited, among other reasons, to prevent potential terrorists from entering security, gaining information, and leaving.
Since Saturday, Tyner's story has added fuel to the Opt Out Day movement which is calling on air travelers to choose not to undergo the full-body scans on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving and traditionally one of the year's top travel days.
Since the rollout of the imaging scanners there has been controversy over the quality of the images, which show limited details of a person's entire body, and the possible saving of the images something TSA has denied is possible.
The level of exposure to radiation has also been an issue for many.
Aguilar cautioned against the scanner boycott. He said he is aware of a backlash.
"Let me paraphrase our new administrator, John Pistole," said Aguilar. "It really is irresponsible to encourage anyone to opt out of a technology that is there in place specifically to protect the public."
In late October, TSA added another layer of security, the resolution pat-down, which requires TSA agents to grasp the body of the subject more firmly when running hands over limbs and also requires probing up to the genital areas of the body.
Aguilar said that once a passenger enters the security area, there is a legal obligation to follow through with the process.
While a passenger can, like Tyner, ask to opt-out of the full body scan, they must walk through the traditional metal scanner and then, at the discretion of the TSA, undergo a pat-down search.
Aguilar said the aggressive body search is not designed as an inducement for passengers to opt into the full body scan. Aguilar said that since the resolution pat-downs began, there have been only four in San Diego.
And even though there are 10 full-body scanners stationed throughout San Diego's airport, it is rare to see more than one in operation in a security area. The TSA staff does not yet have enough trained people to operate them, Aguilar said.
Only about 4 percent of San Diego's passengers undergo the full body scan at this point, Aguilar said.
Sign the Petition: Investigate the TSA
"Porno Scanners," Groping, and Intimidation are Abuses of Power
The TSA's "porno scanners" are a gross invasion of privacy. After the House voted down invasive porno scanners, the TSA ignored the will of Congress and bought the machines anyway, wasting $25 million in stimulus funds to create just a single job.
The TSA's new aggressive "pat downs" are clearly designed to punish people like John Tyner who refuse to go through the porno scanners. Neither the scanners nor the aggressive pat-downs make us any safer. Now the TSA is further abusing its power, threatening a citizen's most basic rights to intimidate the rest of us.
It's clear that the TSA is out of control. Congress should investigate the TSA's abuse of power, and then pull the plug on the invasion of our privacy.
John Tyner had two options when he got to the airport: go through the TSA's "porno scanners" unprotected, or get an aggressive groping by a TSA agent that one woman described as being "sexually assaulted by a government official."
Tyner avoided the porno scanners, but when he objected to the TSA's plan to fondle his genitals, the agents refused to let him board his flight. Tyner recorded the incident in a now-famous video in which he told the TSA to "don't touch my junk."
Now the TSA says they are "investigating" Tyner, threatening him with prosecution and $11,000 in civil penalties. It should be obvious why the TSA is investigating Tyner: to intimidate the rest of us into using their invasive, dangerous porno scanners.
TSA Now Putting Hands Down Fliers' Pants
Big Sis turns up the heat: New super-enhanced pat-down more invasive
Paul Joseph Watson & Alex Jones
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The TSA's invasive new screening measures include officers literally putting their hands down people's pants if they are wearing baggy clothing in a shocking new elevation of groping procedures that have stoked a nationwide revolt against privacy-busting airport security measures.
Forget John Tyner's "don't touch my junk" experience at the hands of TSA goons in San Diego recently, another victim of Big Sis was told by TSA officials that it was now policy to go even further when dealing with people wearing loose pants or shorts.
Going through airport security this past weekend, radio host Owen JJ Stone, known as "OhDoctah," related how he was told that the rules had been changed and was offered a private screening. When he asked what the procedure entailed, the TSA agent responded, "I have to go in your waistband, I have to put my hand down your pants," after which he did precisely that.
Stone chose to conduct the search in public in the fear that the TSA worker would be even more aggressive in a private room.
"If you're wearing sweat pants or baggy clothing, I was wearing sweat pants they're not baggy, they're sweat pants," said Stone, adding that the agent pulled out his waistband before patting his backside and his crotch.
Even the TSA agent who put his hands down the man's pants was embarrassed at what he had been told to do by his superiors, apologizing profusely to the victim.
A 54-year-old Missouri City man experienced similar treatment when he was going through security at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
Thomas Mollman was subject to a groping by a TSA officer that was tantamount to sexual molestation.
"I was wearing shorts at the time between the underwear, right on the skin, all the way around the back, all the way around my front, 360 degrees, touched inappropriately," he said.
"This was an assault. This was no different than a sexual assault," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.
The level of abuse appears to be getting worse on an almost daily basis. First TSA agents use the back of their hands, then they outright grope you with the front, and now they are being trained to put their hands down traveler's pants. What's next? Mandatory bodily probes?
Even as the resistance to airport oppression grows, Big Sis and the TSA are responding by making the pat down procedures more invasive. Napolitano has figuratively said to the American people `let them eat cake' as she slaps them in the face.
Given the fact that the TSA's own woeful background checks for their own employees allows rapists and pedophiles to get jobs as pat down agents, will you allow TSA workers to put their hands down the pants of your daughter or wife?
UPDATE: Owen JJ Stone appeared on The Alex Jones Show today to discuss the incident and how the TSA goon `touched his junk' by specifically patting his backside and testicles while his hand was inside Stone's pants video of the interview coming soon.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show. Watson has been interviewed by many publications and radio shows, including Vanity Fair and Coast to Coast AM, America's most listened to late night talk show.
Fox News host to TSA: `Touch my junk' and I'll sue you
Monday, November 15th, 2010
Fox News host Shepard Smith on Monday reflected the frustration some travelers have been feeling about the TSA's intrusive new airport screening procedures.
During a Studio B segment, Smith declared he would launch a lawsuit against any TSA employee who attempted to "touch his junk" during a pat-down.
Smith said: "The fact of the matter is, since the attacks of 9/11, as we have been screened and re-screened, and lighters have been taken, and shoes have been taken off, belts have been put over there, hats have come off, they have found a grand total of zero parts or pieces of any bomb anywhere domestically in the United States since the attacks of 9/11. Who's the fool who tries to get on a plane with a bomb? You touch my junk, and I'm going to file a lawsuit against you."
Smith's declaration comes as public concerns grow over allegations of misconduct by TSA workers carrying out pat-downs, as well as concerns about potential health hazards from the x-ray machines, especially for frequent fliers or children.
The concerns are catching the attention of some lawmakers.
Two New Jersey state senators are drafting a resolution calling on the US Congress to put an end to the TSA's new screening procedures, which require either a full-body x-ray scan or a pat-down involving the touching of genitals.
State senators James Beach, a Democrat, and Michael Doherty, a Republican, plan to present the resolution in their state assembly.
It "comes in response to widespread concerns over privacy and radiation, as well as reports of inappropriate conduct by TSA agents during the screening process," Doherty announced on his Web site.
"Creating a pat-down procedure that is purposely invasive and time-consuming is no way to make passengers feel safer or more secure," Beach said in a statement. "In fact, it can do the opposite."
Doherty argued that "the pursuit of security should not force Americans to surrender their civil liberties or basic human dignity at a TSA checkpoint."
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano disputed those concerns in an editorial published Monday in USA Today.
Napolitano asked for "cooperation, patience and a commitment to vigilance" from air travelers.
"[X-ray] machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy," she wrote.
Meanwhile, TSA Administrator John Pistole told CNN that the agency may change the procedures to exempt pilots. Unions representing pilots and flight attendants' have been among the strongest critics of the new screening procedures.
"They're a trusted group in so many different ways and so it makes sense to do some type of different type of screening which we will explore and I think have a way forward here in the near future," he said.